birth

Waiting for Cameron

I’ve been thinking about this post for a long time now but was never sure how to start it…. So tonight, one the eve of my son’s first birthday, I thought I would just dive in.

Someone once told me, they had a hard time getting pregnant with their second child, “it took three months,” she said. Three months!? Really? I was twelve months deep and still no baby. I had been poked and prodded, medicated, charted and still nothing but heartbreak. To have compassion for this woman was beyond my realm of possibility. Or was it?

I realized that we are in a society of instant gratification, when we want something, we get it. When we want a baby, we want one immediately (or at least 9 months from that decision). So no matter how long it took you to get pregnant, whether it’s three months or three years, it’s heartbreaking month after month to discover you are not.

It took us fourteen months to get pregnant with Cameron and we needed a lot of prayer and a few milligrams of science to get us there. When my cousin was pregnant with her third baby, she connected with the Michael Buble song, “Just Haven’t Met You Yet.” And it became their song. When I got pregnant with Cam, our song was, “1,000 Years,” by Christina Perri.

The song is melancholy and lovely and for me describes my love and relationship with Cam from the day I got pregnant, to his birth, to his first birthday and beyond. And while, I love this song, I can’t sing it without a lump rising in my throat and a tear falling down my cheek. I didn’t know I was capable of such a love. I sang (or tried to sing) this song to him when he was readmitted to the hospital five days after he was born to treat his jaundice, I sang it to him when we danced in his room, I sang it to him on my last night of maternity leave and I sing it to him now when he has trouble getting to sleep.

When they placed him on my chest, after one power outage, one viewing of the Wizard of Oz, one Tiger’s game, one epidural, two tums, lots of ice chips and 23.5 hours of labor, the lyrics came to me. “I have died every day waiting for you, darling don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years.”

I couldn’t believe my prayers were answered. Every devastating month waiting to get pregnant, I had the hope in the back of my mind that God was just waiting for the perfect time to send the perfect baby and in that moment, when I held him for the first time and heard Matt whisper in disbelief, “It’s a boy,” I knew I was right.

So, happy birthday, Cam. You have taught us what unconditional love looks like, what patience looks like and you have taught us that sleep is mostly overrated and something we can do without, more often than not. You are kind, you are loving, you have amazing hair, you make us laugh, you love to eat everything, even carpet fuzzies, and I can’t imagine our lives any other way. You were so worth the wait.

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Happy Birthday, love bug.

“A Thousand Years”

 

Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave?
How can I love when I’m afraid to fall?
But watching you stand alone,
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow.

One step closer

[Chorus:]
I have died every day waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything take away
What’s standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this

One step closer

[Chorus:]
I have died every day waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

One step closer
One step closer

[Chorus:]
I have died every day waiting for you
Darling don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

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Categories: baby, birth, family, infants, newborns, parenting, pregnancy, singing | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

For Me, For Next Time.

I will enjoy the last weeks of my pregnancy and I will try to enjoy the anticipation.
 
I will make sure I have all my bathroom necessities in all bathrooms.

I will not attempt to do dishes or clean for, at the bare minimum of, four weeks.

I will not feel bad about that.

I will ask the doctors how to take care of me. At the hospital – all the information given to me was how to care for this precious little baby. That came more naturally to me than I expected – but how to take care of my traumatized body was something I wasn’t prepared for.

I will make freezer meals, have paper plates and lots of snacks.

Water bottles will be at every nursing station.

I will realize what I’ve just done – given birth – and celebrate the miracle of life as well as the strength, energy and courage that it took to get that baby out. I will remind myself that I am a warrior.

I will not be afraid to take the baby into public or outside or in the car nor be afraid to bath the babe.

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I will ask for help.

I will not feel guilty for taking naps when we have company.

I will remind myself that I am beautiful whether I’m dressed with makeup or in my pajamas and a disheveled ponytail.

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I will not do laundry for the aforementioned four week period – at least.

I will not even think about working out, restricting calories or shedding excess baby weight I’m ready, emotionally and physically.

I know I will cry – and I will not apologize for any of it. It happens.

I will put away clothes with maternity tags.

I will stock up our DVR with my guilty pleasure shows like Full House, Gilmore Girls and Friends (even though I’ve seen them all more than a few times).

I will try to understand that needing a break from my baby doesn’t make me a bad mom and doesn’t mean I don’t love him. It means I need a moment to myself, to sleep, eat, shower, brush my teeth and regroup.

I will enjoy my pajamas.

I will shower every day.

I will call my girlfriends when I’m ready.

I will make play dates when I’m ready.

I will sleep, cry and remember to laugh because all too soon I will be back to work and he or she will be growing out of newborn onesies.

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Categories: baby, birth, family, friendship, infants, newborns, parenting, pregnancy | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Newborn

My mom was in the hospital,  where Cam was born, recovering from her second hip surgery. I went to visit, bringing coffee and snacks. We chatted for a while and then she had to go to physical therapy.

When I had Cameron, I stayed in my room the whole time, never venturing past the threshold of my privacy curtain. So, after I left my mom’s room I wanted to go see the nursery floor. I pressed the button to the sixth floor and I was surprised at my emotions. I felt a longing for being back, secluded from the world with only my husband and my son by my side.

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I walked out of the elevator doors and followed the signs to the nursery. I peaked in windows, expecting to see a bunch of tiny infants, wrapped in their white blankets, sleeping in rows.  But there were no babies in there. They must have all been with their mommas. It was kind of disappointing – like the magic was gone. And then I saw one small newborn being wheeled through the nursery. He was so tiny.

Was Cameron that small eight weeks ago?

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Everyone tells you to cherish every moment because it goes by fast. Too fast. That is so easy to say in hindsight but in the wee hours of the morning, I caught myself saying things like, “It will be easier when he sleeps through the night.”

When he pees on me, when I am not fast enough changing his diaper, I think, “It will be so much better when he is potty trained.”

When he is screaming for no apparent reason, I think, “I can’t wait until he can just tell me what he wants.”

We have these moments on a daily basis but I try to alter my way of thinking. I know our midnight dates will be gone too soon. I know that capturing his undivided attention on the changing table will turn to squirmy battles and I know that sometimes he cries just because he wants his momma.

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I know those moments are fleeting.

So for now, I will embrace each late night feeding, kiss each tear away and hold my baby boy while he still wants to be held.

stocking cao

 

*The photos in this post were taken by Jen Priester of Jen Preister Photography. She is incredibly talented and has as much love and kindness for newborns as their mothers. She was patient and knew how to soothe Cam when he got cranky. If you are in the Detroit area and are looking for a photographer. She is the best. I am now, more than ever, so grateful that she was able to capture the smallness, the newness and sleepiness in his newborn photos.

 

Categories: baby, birth, family, infants, newborns, parenting, Photography | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Shift in Defining Extraordinary

Our first photo as a family of three :)

Our first photo as a family of three 🙂

While the majority of my experiences on this blog have been about my experiences traveling – they all have one other thing in common – all of these experiences – whether good or bad – have been in some way, big or small, extraordinary.
When I first began writing – I swore I would remain true to my “roots of writing” and stick to travel topics and never become a “mommy blogger.”

And then I became a mom.

I had to take a hiatus from blog posting and just journal until I came to grips with the fact that I wanted to continue to write and share my stories. So while I may not be traveling as much with an infant, I am still on a journey and would love the opportunity to share my moments and days as I continue to seek something extraordinary.

All of a sudden I was a member of this group, this sorority, this incredibly exclusive club that I didn’t even know existed until a few days after giving birth to my son. After nearly 23 hours of labor, I was exhausted, overwhelmed and so weepy. What gave me strength in my first bleary eyed days of being a mother, were my voicemails, texts, facebook messages and emails from my best girlfriends and friends who I hadn’t seen in years just checking in. All notes were personal but all asked me the same question: how are you doing? And all offered the same kindness: if you need anything, I’m here for you.

You can read 100 books. A million blogs and countless message boards and still not know everything you need to know about caring for an infant or caring for yourself as your body has experienced something extraordinary? Yes. But also traumatic.
Being a member of this group has helped me adjust to life with my amazing son and am appreciative of all the other mommas checking in on me and I hope that in the future, I can be that compassionate and caring for other new moms. So to you, other moms in the club, thank you. And to those who will be moms, just know that we, as group, are here for you.

More to come on my life with a newborn as we journey through life together.

Categories: baby, birth, family, newborns, parenting, travel | 2 Comments

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